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Hepatology Research

The Scottish government via the Chief Scientist's office has a structure to support NHS research across Scotland, this is primarily focused on making Scotland attractive for commercial pharmaceutical research  and approved research funders. This is organised into research networks and speciality groups.

NHS Research Scotland (NRS) Hepatology Specialty Group

Our role is to support the delivery of high quality clinical research in Hepatology and manage participant recruitment to time and target, both for Hepatology studies which are led from Scotland, and studies led from other nations which Scottish sites are participating in. The group is also determine to cross outside its statutory remit to work with the SSG, academics and NHS clinicians across Scotland to develop hepatology research in all its forms. We provide support in the following areas:

•         Managing the study portfolio record
•         Monitoring the attainment of recruitment targets
•         Providing advice on study design and feasibility
•         Troubleshooting issues with poor recruitment
•         Sharing information on new studies
•         Identifying potential sites for studies
•         Facilitating access to resource to support research, for example through Clinical Research Facility (CRF) Research Nurses.

Liver disease is the fifth most common cause of death in the UK. Research carried out in this specialty aims to detect liver disease earlier and develop and evaluate new therapies.

Hepatology Studies

The Hepatology Specialty Group oversees research that deals with the diagnosis and management of patients with diseases of the liver, biliary tree, and pancreas. Topics of Hepatology research include:
•         Acute and chronic liver disease including liver failure
•         The impact of identifying, screening and treating viral hepatitis
•         Liver fibrosis and cirrhosis
•         Normal and abnormal liver metabolism
•         Genetic studies including pharmacongenetics
•         Biomarkers
•         Hepatotoxicity
•         Treatment of portal hypertension

Annual Hepatology Research Day

The first annual Hepatology Research Day, hosted by the NRS Hepatology Specialty Group, was held on Wednesday 17th August 2016 at the University of Dundee.  A copy of the agenda can be found here. The Hepatology Specialty Group presentation-who we are and what we do, presented by Sarah Kennedy, can be found here.

It is planned to hold the next hepatology research day on 1st June 2017, further information will be available shortly
For further information on the Specialty Group or information on upcoming events, please contact jillianstrachan@nhs.net

Patient, carer and public information

NHS Research Scotland is committed to actively involving patients, those who care for them and the public in all aspects of the research process, including shaping future research activity. Read more

Key Contacts

Specialty Lead: Professor John Dillon
•         j.f.dillon@dundee.ac.uk
Performance Manager: Sarah Kennedy
•         sarah.kennedy17@nhs.net

The Scottish Society of Gastroenterology and The British Liver Trust Survey of Liver Services in Scotland

The Scottish Society of Gastronenterology and The British Liver Trust commissioned a survey on the provision of secondary care services for patients with liver disease in Scotland in 2013.

The results demonstrate that liver services in Scotland have many strengths but also a few weaknesses and are perhaps best described as patchy, with gaps only partially compensated by informal networks of cooperation.

Survey of Liver Services in Scotland

(STeroids Or Pentoxifylline for Alcoholic Hepatitis)


STOPAH finished recruiting in March 2014. Throughout the United Kingdom 1103 patients were recruited to the ground breaking study. This was the largest trial investigating alcoholic hepatitis ever undertaken.

Scotland ‘punched above its weight’ with regards to recruitment: a testimony to the commitment of the gastroenterology and hepatology community in Scotland to clinically relevant research.

The results will be presented at scientific meetings in the near future.


Dr Ewan Forrest: Ewan.Forrest@ggc.scot.nhs.uk